Idiopathic IH and Weight
Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is sometimes characterized as a disorder affecting overweight women of childbearing age. The relationship between weight and elevated intracranial pressure is not known, though in many cases of IIH, losing weight helps reduce papilledema and sometimes, induces a remission. This is why weight reduction is very important for those who are overweight and have IIH. However, in some people, weight loss does not make a difference. So while weight can be a significant factor in IIH, it is clearly not the only factor. This is further reflected in the fact that only a small percentage of all obese women (and even fewer obese men) develop the disorder.
Additionally, if a person is not overweight or a young woman, an IIH diagnosis should not necessarily be dismissed. IIH has been found, though less frequently, in men and women of all body types, ages and races. In cases of IIH in children under ten, weight and gender are not significant factors.
It is also important to note that in secondary IH, unlike IIH, obesity, gender, age and race are not factors. Physicians should never rule out chronic IH—idiopathic or secondary—based on gender or body type.